The Bust of Prince Ankhhaf in Virtual Reality


"In front of you is a 3D scan of the Bust of Prince Ankhhaf. In ancient Egypt, artists almost never created true portraits. This bust of Ankhhaf, therefore, breaks the rule. Rather than a stylized representation, the face is of an individual. In 1927, this Bust was given to the Museum of Fine Arts as part of a joint excavation. In 2005 the Bust of Prince Ankhhaf was asked to be returned to its home, in Egypt. The intention was to display Ankhhaf at their soon to be finished Grand Egyptian Museum.

Unfortunately, the MFA has consistently rebuffed such requests since then, citing shipping concerns and fragility of the object, but most notably Egypt’s “unstable political climate.” Well, thanks to our American art institution for keeping Egypt’s heritage safe, right?! But why bother shipping the real Ankhhaf, when you can just ship some data. What’s the difference - between representation and the real and all that anyways. With current 3D scanning technology and the promise of virtual reality, the MFA doesn’t even have to give it back…. ever!

Because something that looks like the real thing is better than nothing?

Because something that looks like the real thing is better than nothing."

A virtual reality experience, and proposal to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Displayed at the SMFA Senior Thesis Exhibition, May 2015.

3D model available for download here.